Syllabus, ENG 102
A Doll's House
The Big One
In Text Citation
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Form and Format
Elements of Literature
A Doll's House
Short Research Essays
Grade form
Reading Journal
Literature Essays
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The following passage was written by Henrik Ibsen himself about the play "A Doll's House." Note the very different perception of women's roles in the society he was living in--very different from the times that he was living in: the 1870's.

There are two kinds of spiritual laws, two kinds of conscience, one in men and a quite different one in women. They do not understand each other; but the woman is judged in practical life according to the man's law, as if she were not a woman but a man.

The wife in the play finds herself at last entirely at sea as to what is right and what wrong; natural feeling on the one side, and belief in authority on the other, leave her in utter bewilderment.

A woman cannot be herself in the society of to-day, which is exclusively a masculine society, with laws written by men, and with accusers and judges who judge feminine conduct from the masculine standpoint.

She has committed forgery, and it is her pride; for she did it for love of her husband, and to save his life. But this husband, full of everyday rectitude, stands on the basis of the law and regards the matter with a masculine eye.

Soul-struggles. Oppressed and bewildered by belief in authority, she loses her faith in her own moral right and ability to bring up her children. Bitterness. A mother in the society of to-day, like certain insects, (ought to) go away and die when she has done her duty towards the continuance of the species. Love of life, of home, of husband and children and kin. Now and then a womanlike shaking off of cares. Then a sudden return of apprehension and dread. She must bear it all alone. The catastrophe approaches, inexorably, inevitably.

Despair, struggle, and disaster.

We will be discussing these questions in class and on the Discussion group. Remember you always need "proof" from the play to support any position you take.